Frank Coates was born in Melbourne, ran away to Africa in 1989 at the age of 45, joined a UN team in Nairobi as a technical expert and a year later, on the shores of Lake Victoria, married a Tanzanian of the Nyamwezi tribe. It was a life-changing experience for the ex-Telecom Australia engineer who had earlier worked in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. The UN contract ended, but Frank was now hooked on Africa, and worked as a consultant in countries from Kenya to Swaziland and from Mozambique to Botswana. It was during these four years that he developed his passionate interest in the political and cultural history of East Africa. His marriage didn't survive the continental shift back to Australia and he and his 'African princess' divorced some years later. They say that those who have spent time in Africa can't easily forget the experience, so after denying his urge to write for thirty years, when Frank finally began his writing career in 2001, his imagination took him back to Africa. His first novel, Tears of the Maasai made the best-seller's list in 2004. He then gave up his day job to write full time.